Monday, September 15, 2008

Importing AIPS images into IRAF

Here is a question from reader donkeypuncher:

I'd like to use IRAF to do some analysis on images produced in AIPS. Alas, I am unable to open in IRAF the FITS files output by AIPS (task FITTP). I get this simple, non-informative message when I attempt to use the IRAF task display:

ERROR: Cannot open image (IMAGE.FITS)

I'm guessing it's a format issue, because I have no problem loading in ds9. Any ideas?

BTW, I like the site, thanks for your contributions!

My guess at an answer can be found if you click below..

I think that IRAF needs and expects the '.fits' suffix to be in all small letters. Try changing your image name to 'image.fits' and see if that helps.
Also-- something else I've noticed is that optical software often freaks out at the small pixel values in AIPS images (For example, are your pixel values on the order 10^-3 to 10^-6?). Once you get your image into IRAF, you might want to try multiplying your entire image by some large constant, say a million, using imarith. This could potentially save you headaches.

Read more!

Flux calibration scales at the VLA?

I've run into what looks like a systematic offset between flux scales of earlier observations and my observations. I'm using the 1999.2 coefficients to set my flux scale and it looks like the earlier observations are using the coefficients from Baars et al. (1977). Any ideas on what the differences are between these two systems? 5%? 10%? 20%? I've tried searching the VLA calibration documentation for the information, but didn't find anything useful (although maybe I missed something).

Read more!